Sometimes you know something is vital for you, just because you laid your eyes on it, even amidst a million other things in that same view. Today, I ‘found’ my herb collection again, kept properly in a tin and sealed bags, labelled and all for daily use. Only, I had forgotten what I had put in that tin. Achillea. I guess it’s a perfect time for me to enjoy the healing powers of Achillea Ligustica in a cup of tea sometime soon.
Let me share with you a bit more about Achillea Ligustica, or or Ligurian yarrow.
Where Achillea is found
There are many species of Achillea (Almost 1,000 names have been published within the genus Achillea). But I bought my herbs in Italy – By the 100g from the ‘Erboristeria’ 😉 – and what’s in my tin is Achillea Ligustica.
In Italy, this herb is found especially in the Tyrrhenian area, i.e. from Liguria to Sicily. (Hence the second part of its name. Regarding the first part: apparently the plant is named after the Greek hero Achilles. He used yarrow to treat the battle wounds of his soldiers. So there you go.)
However, Achillea Ligustica grows wild throughout the western Mediterranean region of Europe, i.e. in Spain, France, Greece, western Balkan countries as well as Italy, of course.
Britain cultivated it as early as in 1781. And I understand, Achillea l. is now sparingly naturalised in scattered locations in North America, such as Vermont.
The Healing Powers of Achillea
Beyond where it grows, Achillea L. (Compositae or Asteraceae) is a widely distributed medicinal plant throughout the world and has been used since ancient time.
Some people plant Achillea as an ornamental, but most grow it for its wide range of healing powers.
Popular indications of the several species of this genus include treatment of
- Spasmodic diseases,
- Flatulence, and
It literally is used all over the world, not just in Europe.
Achillea Ligustica and Chinese Medicine
In Chinese medicine, Achillea can be said to have 3 main actions:
- clear Exterior Wind (diaphoretic),
- Tonify Deficiency (tonic) and
- clear Heart Phlegm (anti-hypertention) (1)
Achillea Ligustica – Other Health Benefits
Futhermore, Achillea species may be of potential sources of natural antioxidants for treatment or prevention of related disease. (2)
And besides this, the cosmetic industry uses this herb as a natural cleansing ingredient for shampoo, while the liqueur industry uses yarrow in its liqueur recipes, as it seem to pair well with alcohol.
What Achillea looks like
Achillea L. looks like this:
Each flower head forms a bit of an umbrella of flowers, while its leaves look like little feathers.
On the meadow around the golf course here, they are scattered forming a pretty white flower belt that softens the lines of the courses. In the heat of summer, the white flowers turn into brown over time, as can be seen in the picture.
Please do consult your doctor or a local certified practitioner before taking any herbal medicine of any kind. Astrid van Dorst and TherapeuticReiki will not take any responsibility for what you might do with the content of this article; nor the consequences thereof. Consider this article provided for ‘entertainment’ only. It is not a substitute for doctor diagnosis, medicinal help, treatment and/or prescribed medicine. Let your herbalist or therapist recommend you the correct dose to take of this herb, for your purpose.
And your taste! I heard of people letting the yarrow sit for 20 min in boiled water to make a tincture, together with liquorice and peppermint to mask the bitter taste of the yarrow, before drinking it.
Note that, generally speaking, yarrow contains chemicals that might affect blood pressure. As it is meant to help stop the bleeding in wounds, it makes sense to not use this if you have a blood disorder. Stop taking yarrow at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
As it is affects your menstrual cycle, it is not considered safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. I don’t think there is enough research out there that is conclusive, but generally it’s best to be advised by an expert before making your own teas and tinctures.
References – Healing Powers of Achillea Ligustica
There is a lot of scientific and medical research around yarrow, which I encourage you to review. Here are two of the sources sited in this article as well as two other resources which refer to loads more articles.
1. Ross J. Combining Western Herbs and Chinese Medicine: Principles, Practice, and Materia Medica. Seattle: Greenfields Press; 2003. pp. 165–181. [Google Scholar]
2. Konyalioglu S, Karamenderes C. The protective effects of Achillea L. species native in Turkey against H2O2-induced oxidative damage in human erythrocytes and leucocytes. J Ethnopharm. 2005;102:221–227. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]